As Willie Nelson once sang, I’m on the road again.
This time I am writing from Springfield during the final day of the 2017 Illinois Pork Expo at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. The two-day event does a great job showcasing the pork industry in our fine state. It is always a pleasure to interview so many pork producers and industry experts.
I want to personally congratulate all of the new officers selected by the Illinois Pork Producers Association for the coming year. The new president, Jason Propst, comes from Cumberland County and is starting his seventh year on the IPPA board. Mike Haag of Emington is president-elect and is a 12-year veteran of the board. Haag markets 16,000 feeder pigs annually.
Pam Janssen of Minonk will serve as vice president/treasurer in 2017. She represents the fourth district of IPPA and has previously served as secretary. Janssen is also involved with the Woodford County Pork Producers and Illinois Farm Families. Dale Weitekamp of Raymond will serve as secretary for IPPA. His is a co-owner and operator of a contract wean-to-finish swine farm.
Three new board members were also announced by IPPA. They include Darren Sims, who is from a fifth-generation farm; Chad Leman, who raises corn, soybeans, 2,400 sows and is part of a Pioneer dealership; and Alan Hays who will serve as the Allied Industry Representative. Hays is a second generation farmer and manages 120 acres.
Also, a shout-out to the Zehr family from Washington, Illinois who was named the 2017 Family of the Year during the annual meeting of the IPPA. The Zehrs experienced devastation in 2013 when a tornado struck their home. During that time, Curt focused on keeping the farm going while his wife made plans and oversaw the rebuilding of a new home over 11 months.
Zehr Farms operates 1,700 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat along with a 140-sow farrow-to-finish farm that specializes in Durocs. Zehr said his passion for ag and the swine industry comes from his parents, who were active in IPPA.